National Health Service (Amended Duties & Powers) Bill

Thank you for contacting me about the National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill. While I respect the sincerity of your point of view, I believe that the proposed Bill would be an unnecessary upheaval and would take our NHS backwards.

I am absolutely committed to the founding principles of the NHS - that care is free at the point of use based on need, not on the ability to pay. I know other Ministers share this view and the Health and Social Care Act does nothing to change this. It will not privatise the NHS.

We rightly undertook reforms to strengthen the NHS and invest an extra £12.7 billion in the service. There are 850,000 more operations being delivered each year compared to 2010, and thousands more doctors and nurses. I am also proud that the Prime Minister has promised to continue this investment in the next Parliament. This will mean spending on the NHS will rise every year in real-terms.

I believe giving local doctors the power to make decisions about who provides local NHS services was an important step forward. Local doctors know their patients best and are already improving patient care up and down the country through their Clinical Commissioning Groups. But the Government has always been clear that Ministers are ultimately responsible for the performance of the NHS.

The NHS and its doctors are clear that choice and competition are important tools to deliver high quality care for patients. That is why the previous Labour Government introduced competition and the private sector. When Labour left office, private providers delivered five per cent of NHS services and after four years of the Coalition Government this has increased to just six per cent.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.